This weekâs Sprouts: 11th Circuit Court gives Troy Anthony Davis new hope for an appeal
Today on Sprouts we look at the original trial, the evidence, and efforts to win a new trial for Troy Davis or at least review of evidence by the 11th Circuit Court in GA.
Produced by: Dori Smith, WHUS, Storrs, CT
Left KU Channel
Thursday, October 30, 2008 3PM EST
The original prosecutor in the Troy Davis case, Savannah, GA District Attorney Spencer Lawton, offers a revealing look back at the case that sparked over 800,000 letters to Georgia officials asking that they offer clemency or a new trial for Troy Davis.
During a Talk Nation Radio interview Spencer Lawton admitted to having made some surprising assumptions about Davis' guilt. He says he didn't 'investigate' a second person who should have aroused his suspicion because his attorney didn't accompany him to his office to make his statement implicating Troy Davis. In fact, the record shows, Sylvester Redd Coles attorney did accompany him to the precinct to make his statement. There were other flaws in Lawton's statements identified by Attorneys and Martina Correia, Troy Davis's sister.
During the 10-23-08 interview, Chatham County Georgia District Attorney Spencer Lawton defended unreliable evidence presented at trial. This original prosecutor in the Davis case said for example that none of the witnesses said they were coerced during trial. We air a clip of his Assistant DA David Lock who said during a Georgia Supreme Court proceeding, "there were witnesses who tried to back up at trial who said they had been coerced by police into signing statements:â
On October 14th the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Davis V. Georgia. On the 24th the 11th Circuit Court in Georgia surprised Davis and his attorneys by allowing another Habeas Corpus appeal. Davis had come within three days of being executed for his conviction in the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. This is the third time Troy Davis has come within days or hours of his execution.
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has received messages many well known people asking for clemency including former President Jimmy Carter, the Pope, and former FBI Director William Sessions.
Earlier appeals on behalf of Troy Davis failed on procedural grounds with prosecutors basing their arguments on Georgia legal precedent that says the defense must go beyond offering witnesses who recant trial testimony, they must prove such witnesses were lying through either establishing that they could not have been at a certain place at a certain time or other argument. This is Georgia's âPurest Fabricationâ standard. Troy Davis's attorneys argue that it is has been impossible to find an adequate remedy for any wrongfully convicted client who must demonstrate his actual innocence on the basis of recanted testimony.
We hear from: The original prosecutor in the case, Savannah D.A. Spencer Lawton. He and his assistant David Lock have sought to block Davis's previous appeals, Attorney Ezekiel Edwards, an eyewitness expert and staff attorney at the Innocence Project based in New York, "Zeke" Edwards is also Mayer Brown fellow in the field of eye witness identification. Before joining the Innocence Project in October 2006, he worked for four years at the Bronx Defenders, a community-based public defender office in the South Bronx. He represented over 2,000 clients in felony and misdemeanor jury and bench trials, preliminary hearings, and grand jury proceedings. From 1996 to 1999, Zeke was an investigator at the Capital Defender Office in Manhattan working on behalf of people facing the death penalty. Attorney Deirdre O'Connor of Innocence Matters. She wrote an Amicus brief (amicus curiae) for the 2007 Georgia Supreme Court appeal in support of the defense. Kathleen 'Kitty' Behan is one of Troy Davis's previous attorneys. Also, Martina Correia, Troy Davis's sister, who works with Amnesty International and other groups helping support her brother's case for innocence.
Davis has been on death row in Georgia for 17 years, for a total of 19 years in jail. His case represents the latest example of failures within state and federal courts that have been asked to review complex challenges to verdicts in capital murder cases. There have been 130 people liberated from death row because attorneys were able to get the judicial system to review evidence. 223 cases of innocence have been proven through assistance by the Innocence Project and other groups of attorneys.
Sprouts is a weekly program that features production at independent radio stations and other grassroots media groups. It is produced collaboratively between Pacifica and community radio stations across the country. The program is offered free of charge to all radio stations and welcomes submissions from producers in independent media. For information or to submit work, contact Ursula Ruedenberg at:email@example.com.
http://www.gfadp.org for Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and see links.
Sprouts is produced by Pacifica affiliate radio stations and other grassroots media groups. It is produced collaboratively between Pacifica and community radio stations across the country. The program is offered free of charge to all radio stations and welcomes submissions from producers in independent media. For information or to submit work, contact Ursula Ruedenberg at:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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